Hockinson Teachers Join WEA in Rolling Walkouts

HEA Parent Letter

When: May 13th
Where: From 9-1030 am on the corner of 162nd and 4th Plain. We will rally together with Washougal, Camas, and Evergreen at Esther Short park from 11-1pm. We will get more details at the park in regards to meeting with legislators in the evening.
Attire:: Wear RED for Public Ed.
Why: To send a message to the legislators that it is time to fully fund public education!
The state is attempting to take over control of local levy monies from their intended purpose, serving the Hockinson community. Under current proposals in the Senate, Hockinson taxpayers who have so graciously voted to send their tax dollars to support Hockinson schools could see a portion of that tax money skimmed right off the top and redistributed to other school districts throughout the state.

` The state is attempting to ignore voter-approved mandates to reduce class sizes, which the voters of Washington have twice passed (most recently in November of 2014).

` An increased focus on state-mandated standardized testing has resulted in the narrowing of curriculum, restriction of academic freedom, and a significant loss of instructional time.

` The legislature has routinely ignored the calls from voters and even state Supreme Court to adequately fund public education.

o In 2000, voters approved an annual cost of living adjustment for public educators. The Legislature suspended Initiative 732 and has not funded a COLA for 6 years. Washington ranks 42nd out of 50 states in terms of educator pay.

o In 2007, the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS), a coalition of 430 member, including 203 school districts (of which the Hockinson School District is one), sued the State over its failure to fully fund schools per its constitutional duty. NEWS won.

o In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the “McCleary” decision finding the state had not met its constitutional duty.

o In 2014, the Supreme Court held the Legislature in Contempt of Court for failing to make steady, real and measurable progress towards reaching the funding level assured in the State’s own McCleary testimony.

o In 2014 voters approved smaller K-12 class sizes and and caseloads. The Legislature is currently attempting to rewrite Initiative 1351 and reduce class size in K-3 only; class size in grades 4-12 and in high-poverty would be increased. Current law requires the state to reduce class size in all grades, not just some. Washington ranks 47th out of 50 in class size.

o In 2015, neither the proposed House or Senate budgets result in the progress ordered by the Court; the progress Washington’s one million K-12 public school children, teachers, specialists, and school employees deserve.

Perhaps the biggest problem, and most poignant answer to why: Legislators have refused to respond to the traditional methods of influence. Over 7 years, they’ve ignored our letters and phone-calls, our visits to the capitol, our invitations to town halls, our sponsorship of and activism to pass ballot measures, and an innumerable list of other classic activities common in a democracy.

For example, recently teachers campaigned in the community to sign a class-size initiative onto the ballot, promoted the measure in the November election, and then won, only to see the legislature contemptuously laugh at our efforts and our community’s wishes.

As recently as February, teachers hosted a town hall meeting and invited local legislators from Clark County to discuss their progress with reforming education funding in Olympia. Over 300 people turned out for the event hoping to hear from and influence our elected representatives, only to find more than half of our elected officials didn’t even bother to show up.

This is not about walking out on you or our students. This is about standing up for our students’ right to a fully-funded education and your rights as voters!

Don’t forget to contact your legislature to demand they no longer disregard your votes and your continued right to support the Hockinson School District and all of Washington.

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